Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has declared a 60-day State of Emergency this past weekend.
Claiming there were threats against his presidency, Maduro believes there are many within his own country, as well as in the United States, working to undermine his presidency.
Maduro is planning on using military force throughout the nation to answer to “troublemakers” all over the country. He also plans on taking hold of closed companies and arrest employees.
Right now, Venezuela is experiencing product deficiencies, high inflation, extreme poverty, and a spike in violent crime.
Ricardo Hausmann is a Venezuelan professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the director of the Harvard Center for International Development. He believes the entire nation is on the path to catastrophe.
Hausmann tells PRI.org, “Venezuela’s problems are a consequence of the craziest economic policy ever in a country or in the world. It’s a country that has gone through its longest and highest oil boom in its history, and ended that period over-indebted, with a destroyed productive capacity, and now it cannot face the reduction in the price of oil.”
Oil prices around the world have hit a 10-year low, and Hausmann believes Venezuela has been negatively affected mostly because of their unstable government.
The healthcare system in Venezuela is also in a state of disrepair. There is an extremely high rate of infant mortality in the country, basic drugs are unavailable for import, and doctors don’t have any gloves, soap, or medical equipment to perform even the most basic of checkups. Considering that most medical visits throughout the world (about 75%) involve some sort of drug therapy, both Venezuela’s economy and its people are at risk for a number of preventable health conditions.
Things have even gotten so bad in the private sector that business owners are facing jail time because of stolen toilet paper.
Due to shortages of supplies and binding contracts with worker unions, many small business owners are turning to the black market to get necessary supplies, which risk seizure from Maduro’s administration. The usage of secret police, who often conduct these raids, also has Venezuelan citizens on edge.
For Hausmann, all these factors create the perfect storm for social, economic, and political upheaval. He believes the only road leading from this crisis is one without Maduro.